MAAV’s 23rd Annual Walk & Candlelight Vigil will be held on Sunday, October 28, 2018. The event will begin at 4pm at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School.

The event will begin with the presentation of MAAV’s 8th Annual Advocacy in Action Award, which will be presented to Mike Bloom. He has been a pillar of MAAV since its inception 23 years ago, when members of the Melrose League of Women Voters approached the Melrose Police Department to learn more about domestic violence in our community. They were directed to Det. Mike Bloom, who not only provided information but embraced the cause, and became a founding member of the Board of Directors. Det. Bloom was subsequently named Domestic Violence Officer and worked closely with MAAV, helping countless victims of domestic violence and teaching the Healthy Relationships program to hundreds of middle school students, among other things. He retired from the Melrose Police Department several years ago but has remained active on the Board of Directors, serving as President and Vice-President and a member of the Walk Committee.

Mike Bloom was selected for our 8th Annual Advocacy in Action Award based on his incredible commitment to MAAV and the issue of ending domestic violence. He has been integral to MAAV’s success, and to this day, epitomizes the passionately caring, proactive spirit of MAAV.

After the award presentation, we will hold a Candlelight Vigil to honor victims of domestic violence homicide, which will be followed by a 2 mile walk around Ell Pond and through downtown Melrose. The event concludes with light refreshments back at the Middle School.

The theme of this year’s event is “Words Have Power.” This theme was chosen to convey that words can be just as powerful – and just as hurtful – as fists. We are more likely to see verbal abusive in a relationship, rather than physical abuse. And while people often minimize verbal abuse, the truth is that words can be more painful, and leave longer-lasting scars than physical abuse. It’s also important to remember that verbal abuse, and the emotional abuse it brings with it, often is the precursor to physical violence.

There is good news, however, and that’s the fact that words can be used to help people, and to encourage them. Words of encouragement and kindness can go a long way toward helping people. That’s why we say this: “Choose your words as if they matter, because they do.”

Community members are welcome to participate in the Walk in a variety of ways. We welcome you to form a Walk team. Learn more by clicking here. Businesses, community organizations and families can serve as event sponsors. To learn about sponsorship levels and benefits, click here. We also welcome individual contributions, which can be made online via FirstGiving.

The event serves as MAAV’s largest annual fundraiser, with last year’s Walk raising almost $50,000. Donations are used to fund prevention and intervention initiatives throughout the community and schools. MAAV’s programs seek to curb bullying, teen dating abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.